Champions League strikes excitement as the finals arrive

Rhea Noumair

More stories from Rhea Noumair


Photo courtesy of CBC

Real Madrid right-winger Rodrygo comes on after the 68th minute and scored two goals in the 90th-minute solidifying Madrid’s trip to the finals. “It was an insane game, crazy to watch,” Sichani said.

The Champions League semi finals are finally underway after months of group stages and round qualifiers. From the already controversial round of 16, an even more disputable semi finals have been lined up.

Manchester City managed to beat Atlético Madrid 1-0 on aggregate after De Bruyne’s goal in the first leg while Real Madrid beat Chelsea 5-4 on aggregate, after Madrid center forward Karim Benzema scored a second hat trick in the competition.

On Apr. 26, Manchester City faced Real Madrid for the first leg, in which an exciting game was produced. City’s center midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne started the game with an astounding header goal in the second minute. In the eleventh minute, Gabriel Jesus scored a rocket which was assisted by Kevin De Bruyne, Madrid were down 2-0 until the 33rd minute when Karim Benzema scored a volley to lessen the goal gap to 2-1. The second half was equally as enticing, with City left winger Phil Foden scoring a header in the 53rd minute. The assist came from substitute Fernando Luiz Roza, more popularly known as Fernandinho who came in after right back John Stones was taken out due to injury.

Almost immediately after, Madrid left winger Vinicious Junior scored, dribbling the ball all the way to the goalie’s box and taking on City goalie Ederson Moraes better known as Ederson, one on one. Center midfielder for City, Bernardo Silvia responded by blasting the ball from right outside the penalty box and scoring in the 74th minute making the score 4-2, City in the lead. In the 82nd minute, City center back Aymeric Laporte received a handball in the penalty box defending a freekick taken by Madrid center midfielder Toni Kroos. The altercation had led to a penalty kick to which Benzema had taken, he chipped it into the center of the goal, sending Ederson to the left side.

Villarreal made it through instead of Bayern München after winning on aggregate, 2-1. The loss disappointed many especially with Bayern being a favorite for the race for the title. Villarreal were set to play their first leg on Apr. 27 against Liverpool.

The match was underwhelming, Liverpool winning 2-0. Villarreal left back Pervis Estupinan opened up the scoreboard after a deflection of Liverpool center midfielder Jordan Henderson’s cross in the 53rd minute. Villarreal had managed to defend the Liverpool attack for the first half but after the own goal, Sadio Mané, Liverpool center forward scored the second goal of the game only two minutes after, in the 55th minute.

Liverpool and Villarreal were set to play their second leg on May 3 and the expectations for Villarreal were all over the place.

“[Liverpool] won it back in 2019 and won it six times before. I think we’re going to win it,” Liverpool fan and resource teacher Betty Griffiths said.

After two legs of the Champions League semi-finals, Real Madrid will be facing Liverpool in the finals on May 28. (Photo courtesy of the Cult of Calico)

Griffiths and many other Liverpool fans have felt the same and continue to have high hopes for the finals. The game started with a goal from Villarreal center forward Boulaye Dia in the third minute. Villarreal continued with their constant counter attacks against Liverpool, scoring again in the 41st minute making the score 2-0 (2-2 on aggregate). Despite the strong start, Villarreal slowed down in the second half allowing Liverpool center mid Fabinho to score in the 62nd minute making it 2-1 (2-3 aggregate).
Liverpool scored again in the 67th minute, winger Luis Diaz made it 2-2 (2-4 on aggregate). The last goal occurred in the 74th minute from Mané, closing out the game with Liverpool winning to Villarreal 2-3 (5-2 on aggregate).

“[Villarreal] played well but Liverpool came back, Luis Diaz has been an incredible signing and it’s fun to watch [Liverpool] play,” Griffiths said.

The second leg between City and Madrid was on May 4 with City winning 4-3 on aggregate. Despite the slow start and goalless first half, City right winger Riyad Mahrez opened up the game by scoring in the 75th minute making the score 1-0 (5-3 on aggregate). Madrid substitute, right winger Rodrygo Silva de Goes, better known as Rodrygo scored two goals both in the 90th minute to take City to extra time.

The two goals made the match score 2-1 to Madrid (5-5 on aggregate). In extra time, City gave away a penalty which Benzema was elected to take. The score was made 3-1 (6-5 on aggregate) in the 95th minute pushing Madrid to the finals.

“It was really exciting and chaotic. Even though I supported City, it was fun to watch,” freshman Nima Sichani said.

The finals are set to play on May 28 between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

“I think Real Madrid will win, they have experience and a great mentality, I’m extremely excited for the finals. I believe this will be one of the better finals we have had in the past few years,” Sichani said.

“I’ve always grown up a [Barcelona] fan so I generally hate Real Madrid and I think that the [British Premier League] plays better soccer. But, I do think that Real might win it,” English teacher Giancarlo Ramirez said.